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Re: [existlist] Re: From very small to very large

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  • eduardathome
    Jim, “Yes the neurons behave according to the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, but they do not obey the sort of normative (prescriptive) laws I try to
    Message 1 of 171 , Jun 16, 2013
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      Jim,

      “Yes the neurons behave according to the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, but they do not obey the sort of normative (prescriptive) laws I try to conform to in my daily life.”

      Where then are the prescriptive laws that you try to conform to?? I would suggest that they are in your brain as whatever mental script.

      You mention that humans try to do what is “reasonable and right”. Just how do they do that reasoning without using their neurons??.

      eduard

      -----Original Message-----
      From: Jim
      Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:17 PM
      To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [existlist] Re: From very small to very large

      Chris,

      You write: "My point is that there are mechanistic approaches worth appreciating, but I think that the difference here is that with logic, I follow rules in order to deduce truth about the world from what I already know, and when I start thinking about neurology, I can't sum up the activity to distinguish truth from falsehood."

      I think this is an important and true point, if I understand you correctly.

      To put it in my own way: In daily life I aim to meet certain standards of correctness. I try to discover what is true by assessing the evidence in a reasonable manner, and I aim to behave decently by applying the ethical principles I have come to accept. So both my theoretical reason and my practical reason are guided by standards of correctness.

      However when we look at the world from a scientific perspective, for example when we study neurons firing in the brain, these standards of correctness are not involved. Yes the neurons behave according to the laws of physics, chemistry and biology, but they do not obey the sort of normative (prescriptive) laws I try to conform to in my daily life. Human beings try to do what is reasonable and right, neurons just do what neurons do.

      Jim




      --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, christopher arthur <chris.arthur1@...> wrote:
      >
      > As an analytic philosopher, Bertrand Russell seemed to be very
      > successful in using a kind of logical, mechanical thinking to approach
      > philosophical problems, and perhaps so was Wittgenstein, but I think
      > that we need to draw the line of philosophy somewhere. My point is that
      > there are mechanistic approaches worth appreciating, but I think that
      > the difference here is that with logic, I follow rules in order to
      > deduce truth about the world from what I already know, and when I start
      > thinking about neurology, I can't sum up the activity to distinguish
      > truth from falsehood. There is certainly some appeal to the intuition
      > to be able to take a problem, particularly in existentialism, and
      > operate on it logically to arrive at some deeper understanding. That
      > same spirit might be cause for reluctance to embrace paradox.
      >
      > It's curious that in the (brief) discussion that we had concerning being
      > and nothingness, that no one seemed to mention the concepts of
      > being-in-itself or being-for-itself.
      >
      > Chris
      >




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    • daveylee40
      It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally
      Message 171 of 171 , Aug 25, 2013
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        It seems to me that we are limited to the qualities and capacities of humanness as supplied by the natural state of being human. Other than that, I personally cannot conceive of a fixed nature or essence.

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "Mary" <josephson45r@...> wrote:
        >
        > No congratulations from Sartre unless I understand how I am being in-itself and being for-itself. Since I'm sufficiently satisfied with my grasp of Sartre's Bad Faith, I'm now going to spend some time with how Sartre explains what he considers the 'correct' view of in-itself for being human. What for Sartre is fixed as human essence other than existence, nothing, and freedom?
        >
        > Mary
        >
        > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        >
        > > Sartre could encounter the waiter whilst serving the table and ask "what are
        > > you??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a waiter"
        > >
        > > "Aha ... and obvious case of mauvais foi". "But, what are you besides a
        > > waiter??"
        > >
        > > "I'm a father of a family"
        > >
        > > "Still mauvais foi ... a sad case". "I mean, underneath, besides these
        > > particular roles??"
        > >
        > > "Of course, I am a human being".
        > >
        > > "Congratulations".
        > >
        > > eduard
        > >
        > > -----Original Message-----
        > > From: Mary
        > > Sent: Saturday, July 20, 2013 10:28 AM
        > > To: existlist@yahoogroups.com
        > > Subject: [existlist] Fixed nature
        > >
        > > We reject labels which identify us as essentially one particular thing. I am
        > > not my job, so whichever occupation I choose or find myself in and
        > > regardless of the education and training it requires, I am still not that
        > > position/role/job in-itself. It is this idea of having a fixed nature, a
        > > something in-itself, which Sartre opposes. We are being for-itself and
        > > either struggle or recoil at the thought of having the freedom of not having
        > > an identity (an in-itself) so we find ourselves in the 'project' or
        > > condition of bad faith. Sartre thinks our nature is to desire a fixed
        > > nature. But this is further complicated by the fact that others tend to
        > > label us as having a fixed nature.
        > >
        > > If I say you, eduard, are essentially a positivist or a reductionist or
        > > whatever, you reject this because you feel you are not that. If I say you
        > > are an electrical engineer, you're more likely to say this is true, but are
        > > you really only or strictly what your job entails? Aren't you first eduard,
        > > a human being who thinks and does many things besides his job? Aren't your
        > > ideas and ways of being constantly changing? To say that you perform your
        > > job/role as an electrical engineer means you are not strictly that block of
        > > identity. Even if you were to change careers, you wouldn't strictly be that
        > > new identity either. You would be free to be more than just that. Sartre
        > > means that all jobs are equal only in the sense that we still would not be
        > > identified strictly with what we do.
        > >
        > > To say I am not *that* means I am not merely a being in-itself. But it's
        > > more complicated, because if there weren't some facticity about being human,
        > > we wouldn't be able to negate it and be a being for-itself. We would merely
        > > be this block of identity. This is really what Sartre uses bad faith to
        > > explainâ€"the relationship between being in-itself and for-itself.
        > >
        > > Mary
        > >
        > > --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, eduardathome <yeoman@> wrote:
        > > >
        > > > Mary,
        > > >
        > > > I think that part of the difficulty may be that we are dealing with
        > > > 1930’s thought. The way I see it, Sartre is describing psychology as to
        > > > mental functioning and associated behaviour. But in the 1930’s there
        > > > was very little in the way of realising that we actually used our brains
        > > > to think, so Sartre and others had to resort to labels and phraseology
        > > > which might suffice.
        > > >
        > > > But since such phraseology is disconnected from reality, it easily leads
        > > > to convoluted statements such as, "If I am a cafe waiter, this can be only
        > > > in the mode of *not being* one." That statement makes no sense, and I
        > > > can well appreciate the need for 800 pages of reading to obtain some kind
        > > > of understanding. I don’t believe that such a statement would be made
        > > > by anyone today in the 21st century.
        > > >
        > > > I read the paragraph at least 4 times now and still cannot make any sense
        > > > of it. For example, â€Å"This is the result of the fact that while I must
        > > > *play at being* a cafe waiter in order to be one, still it would be in
        > > > vain for me to play at being a diplomat or a sailor, for I would not be
        > > > one”. I think that what Sartre is saying is that a â€Å"diplomat” is a
        > > > position that requires substantial training and something to which you are
        > > > assigned. You can’t just walk into the Ministry of State building and
        > > > start acting like a diplomat as one might act as a waiter when walking
        > > > into a restaurant. But if that is the case, then Sartre weakens his
        > > > argument for mauvais foi, since the diplomat could equally confuse himself
        > > > with his role.
        > > >
        > > > I agree with your understanding of bad faith. I asked at the office, what
        > > > was the meaning of â€Å"mauvais foi”. It comes down to misrepresenting
        > > > yourself to others, as for example to have a hidden agenda. Sartre seems
        > > > to be using the term as misrepresenting yourself to yourself. In regard
        > > > to the question of whether it is possible to misrepresent yourself to
        > > > yourself, I should think that it is entirely possible. There is nothing
        > > > in the rule book of brain thinking that one has to be entirely logical and
        > > > transparent.
        > > >
        > > > I think the example of the waiter is put in the wrong sense which
        > > > compounds the difficulty. The waiter is said to be too precise and
        > > > therefore he/she has mauvais foi. But it really should be expressed the
        > > > other way around, as waiters who have mauvais foi tend to act in too
        > > > precise a manner. Not all waiters who act precisely have mauvais foi.
        > > > Neither do all beau parleurs.
        > > >
        > > > eduard
        > >
        >
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